Western Tradition

Of What Value Is a Dead Language?

By |2020-01-09T14:58:16-06:00January 8th, 2020|Categories: Books, Culture, Education, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

The prestige of studying classical languages like Latin and Greek is greatly eroded today. This is no mystery; but how did we get to this point? Linguist Nicholas Ostler, in his book Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin, chronicles how Latin remained the one constant during the growth of Western culture. The claims he [...]

Return of the Small Gods?

By |2019-11-16T21:29:54-06:00November 16th, 2019|Categories: Books, Civil Society, Conservatism, Dwight Longenecker, Relativism, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

Rusty Reno’s recent book, Return of the Strong Gods is an excellent explanation of the roots of relativism. The short version is that two world wars left Western civilization with a huge societal case of post-traumatic stress disorder. With heads in hands, the thinkers concluded that we kill one another because of dogma. We say, [...]

The Permanence of Russell Kirk

By |2019-10-14T12:29:01-06:00October 7th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, The Conservative Mind, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

With the phenomenal success of The Conservative Mind—selling over a million copies during the three decades after its initial release—Kirk worried that “conservatism” might prove to be a hollow answer for the post-war world. Afterall, he reasoned, conservatism must, by necessity, be highly subjective, centered around a specific time and place, even while embracing [...]

Russell Kirk Reconsidered

By |2019-10-12T14:19:30-06:00October 4th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, The Conservative Mind, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

Russell Kirk gave voice to a myriad of persons, personalities, and ideas circulating in the decade after the Second World War, just as the West was trying to understand what it stood for, rather than what it stood against. The latter was easy. Communism and fascism were evil. But, what exactly did the West stand [...]

Traditional Education & the Future of Europe

By |2019-10-02T15:25:41-06:00October 2nd, 2019|Categories: Classical Education, Conservatism, Europe, Glenn Arbery, Liberal Arts, Senior Contributors, Western Tradition, Wyoming Catholic College|

Near the end of his recent book, Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition (highly recommended), the English philosopher Roger Scruton makes a very interesting observation about what is possible in America but not in Europe. As he puts it, the burden of American conservatism has been to define the customs and traditions most [...]

“Reason, Faith, & the Struggle for Western Civilization”: Illuminating the Past & Present

By |2019-08-07T22:05:08-06:00August 7th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Faith, History, Philosophy, Pope Benedict XVI, Reason, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

It is a bright note of hope, set against the present daunting darkness, that shines throughout Samuel Gregg’s “Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization,” both illuminating the past and shedding much-needed light on the present situation. Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization, by Samuel Gregg (256 pages, Gateway Editions, 2019) [...]

Liberal Education: The Foundation and Preservation of a Free Society

By |2019-02-28T15:50:32-06:00February 27th, 2019|Categories: Classical Education, Freedom, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, Liberty, Tradition, Western Tradition, Wisdom|

In a time of economic uncertainty, liberal education holds out the promise of joy in learning, contentment in contemplating truth, and satisfaction in community. These things are available to all people, rich or poor. Liberal education and the free society have always been intimately connected. A liberal education, an education which prepares one for [...]

On Loving Definitions

By |2019-02-18T22:11:33-06:00February 18th, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Education, Senior Contributors, Tradition, Western Tradition|

I first came across Russell Kirk’s belief that academics must serve as guardians of “the Word” in his groundbreaking but now sadly-neglected book, Academic Freedom: An Essay in Definition (1955). “The principle support to academic freedom, in the classical world, the medieval world, and the American educational tradition, has been the conviction, among scholars and [...]

Is Specialization Killing Culture?

By |2019-07-03T13:39:39-06:00January 25th, 2019|Categories: Beauty, Civilization, Community, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Modernity, Permanent Things, Senior Contributors, The Imaginative Conservative, Truth, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

If culture is simply a matter of private enthusiasms and hobbies, of small details and specialties, then what of a common culture? What about the collective project and shared sense of purpose that built Western civilization? “The expert takes a little subject for his province, and remains a provincial for the rest of his [...]

Banning Books and Burning Heretics

By |2019-07-23T11:43:06-06:00January 24th, 2019|Categories: Civil Society, Culture, Culture War, England, Ethics, Free Speech, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Modernity, Poetry, Rights, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

Advocates of the liberal arts include “heretical” books in the great conversation, whereas political liberals seek to silence them as dangerous. As we have seen in Nazi Germany and in communist countries, the banning of “heretical” books ends with the burning of “heretics”… Several years ago, I visited the two-room shack in Tupelo, Mississippi, [...]

The Classics and Christianity

By |2019-01-11T15:44:57-06:00January 11th, 2019|Categories: C.S. Lewis, Christianity, Civilization, Classical Education, Classics, Culture, Great Books, Homer, Liberal Learning, Literature, Myth, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors, St. Augustine, Virgil, Western Civilization, Western Tradition, Worldview|

Christians invented the classical curriculum; it is as much part of the broader Western inheritance as it is specifically part of the Christian inheritance… Why study old books? How do dusty old books written by dead men and women thousands of years ago grow my faith? Such can be common thoughts when the Christian [...]

Counterpoint and Why It Matters

By |2020-01-13T14:38:09-06:00January 9th, 2019|Categories: Beauty, Culture, Modernity, Music, Roger Scruton, Western Tradition|

In music, there has arisen in recent times the illusion that knowledge is not necessary, that the old forms of discipline are merely obstacles to the true creative process, and that real originality means doing your own thing, free from traditional constraints… I recently acquired a CD of music for piano duo by Jeremy [...]

Liberty and Liberal Education

By |2019-10-03T11:25:47-06:00December 25th, 2018|Categories: American Republic, Civil Society, Classical Education, Education, Great Books, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, Western Tradition, Wyoming Catholic College|

Free citizens are necessarily invited to follow the Delphic injunction, “know thyself,” that is addressed to all mankind; and their success or failure in responding to this invitation is crucial for the preservation or loss of their liberty… Liberal education is the distinctive educational tradition of the West; so, too, is liberty our distinctive political tradition. [...]